As finals approach, the number of students pulling essay-writing all-nighters increases exponentially. But when left to the last minute, essays can be stressful and frustrating. Thankfully these tips can make the process more bearable and give you the extra boost you need to make it through the night with an A+ essay in hand.
1. Easy Bib.
If you’ve been writing your bibliography manually, you’ve been doing it all wrong. Easybib.com gives you simple forms to fill out for all types of media and will create a compiled list of sources exportable to Microsoft Word. It will even automatically create a citation from a webpage with nothing more than a URL.
2. Taking a break.
If you’re getting writer’s block, staring at your computer probably won’t help. Instead, you should take a minute to regroup. Get a cup of coffee, have a snack, take a brisk walk outside. This breather will allow you to think more clearly when you return to writing.
3. The period trick.
Need to make your essay a bit longer? In your word processor, find the “advanced find and replace” option. In the find section, type a period in size 12 font. Then in the replace section, open your font window and change the size to 14 pt. Then click replace all. This is relatively unnoticeable and will add length to your essay if it needs an extra push. Note: This is not advisable if you are turning in an electronic copy of your paper.
4. Wikipedia’s cited sources.
Since Wikipedia is edited by the general public, it is not a source you should ever cite in your essay, but it is a great starting point. If you find information and want to cite it, go to the bottom of the Wikipedia page where citations are listed and visit those sources. They are generally more reliable and citable than the Wikipedia page itself.
5. Use quotations.
Don’t overdo it, but when relevant quotes can extend the length of an essay while adding useful content. Make sure to cite quotations. If you don’t, you might get accused of plagiarizing.
6. Focus on the task at hand.
It’s easy to spend hours on an essay when you are constantly checking Facebook and Twitter. It can help to close every window on your computer that doesn’t have to do with writing your paper. Programs like Cold Turkey (Windows) and SelfControl (Mac) can help you stay focused by temporarily blocking your own access to distracting websites like social media and games. It’s okay to take breaks by engaging in online communication and entertainment, but while writing it’s best to keep your head in the right place.